Stay at Home and Read a Book BallOne of of Stay at Home and Read a Book Ball guests of honour, Desiree Baron, has recommended Light Years: Memoir of A Modern Lighthouse Keeper by Caroline Woodward for you to stay at home and read. We hope you will join us at the Ball by making a donation and curling up with a book. (Perhaps this one!)

Light Years: Memoir of A Modern Lighthouse Keeper by Caroline Woodward

Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper

How many of us have ever fantasized about starting fresh with a new life, in a new location?   Caroline Woodward’s Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper, gives readers that vicarious experience.   A chance encounter with a wayward Jack Russell terrier gave Woodward the idea of the perfect new start for her and her husband – working as relief lighthouse keepers on the West Coast.  Tired of Woodward’s grueling schedule as a publishers’ representative, her husband’s motley collection of part-time work, and feeling sad about their newly empty nest, she sees this move as the perfect chance to write in solitude and gain inspiration from the isolation of the coast.  Spliced through the stories are lovely short poems and haikus celebrating the islands and their climate, and their animal inhabitants.  Beautiful photographs, most of them taken by her husband, document their life as lightkeepers and the stunning vistas of the coast.

Anyone interested in creativity—writing, homesteading and gardening, for instance—would appreciate the author’s resourceful journey.  Woodward is someone who has followed her creative passion for writing throughout her life, working various temporary, seasonal and part-time jobs to pursue her craft instead of a steady, “sensible, well-paid career with a fat pension”.   In many ways, this is also a travel book which celebrates the bleak but wondrous landscapes of our West Coast.  We are introduced to the various flora and fauna inhabiting the coast.  Woodward’s detailed descriptions of birds, whales, and the dreaded crows and deer foraging in her garden gives the reader the sights and sounds of the place.  We learn about the author’s youth spent on a farm in Peace River, her life with her husband and son, and of course, about the islands on the coast.  The reader gets a sense of the struggles that the pioneer lightkeepers have lived through, including the one who towed a cow on a raft from Oak Bay to Trial Island with his rowboat to provide fresh milk for his family.  Filled with historical details, and suffused with Woodward’s dry wit and evocative prose, this book is a perfect armchair getaway and gives great insight into a writer’s life and creative process.  At the end of the book is a lovely gift for bibliophiles – a reading list to build ones’ own lighthouse library, with an annotated list of books about lighthouses, writing, and “watery wilderness”.

Desiree Baron has experienced starting fresh with a new life, in a new location when her family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when she was 10 years old.  As Branch Head of the Terry Salman (TSN) Branch, Desiree has seen first-hand the great contribution of the Friends of the Library to our communities.  Over the last two years, Terry Salman Branch (TSN) and VPL branches in the Southwest Area have has benefitted from grants from the Friends of the Library to ameliorate and expand services to seniors. This year, TSN’s Young At Heart technology program saw a number of seniors get one-to-one help on how to use a variety of their electronic devices, from cell phones, to laptops and e-readers. Thank you, Friends of the Library!

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